I sat up on the sofa and looked into the office where Steven was sitting on his computer. “Steven, I need to say something to you.” Eight words that I can only assume send a shiver up his spine. “Yeah?” He responded, unsure what to do with his hands, body, eyes as he tried to judge how serious this was going to get by the look on my face.
He centered his body towards mine.
He walked over to me on the sofa, let out a little laugh, and hugged my neck. It’s weird to let go of what seems to be an obvious secret to everyone else. Something that everyone likely knew, but it feels like it was buried so deep that no one would ever notice. Even though my junior high volleyball coach very much did notice when he started calling me the “big girl” during practices. (Needless to say, my volleyball career never really got off the ground and I quit after 8th grade.) I couldn’t share clothes with the girls in school and in most pictures of me, I am standing somewhere in the back, crossing my arms in an attempt to cover up my body. I have always felt hopelessly trapped inside my own skin. I spent years in the mirror looking at the skin hanging from my arms or the red bumps on the inside of my thighs from wearing tight jeans. For 27 years, I have felt total shame living in this body.
Steven put his hand around my face and said, “Do you feel better?”
To my surprise. I did.
We spend a lot of time talking about body positivity, but not a lot of time accepting it for ourselves. That is/was me. I’ve been watching old cycles of America’s Next Top Model and it is hella problematic sometimes, but I have been waiting for one of the big girls to get the top spot. Why do I want it? I want to feel represented. I want to feel like there is enough space in this world to hold my curvy body. I want to be given the permission to be accepted.
So, I gave myself permission.
I gave myself permission to live in and outside my physical body. The permission to feed and care for my body with things that are good for it, but to also enjoy life, and wine, and chocolate. I gave myself permission to live free from my skin sag, my scale, and the size of my jeans. I can finally learn to embrace and love my body because our bodies can be incredible. They can grow life, fight battles, and offer a display of our love, sacrifices, scars, and victories--but they are just that--a display. I am not skin. We are so much more than skin. Our bodies are a canvas of our stories, but a canvas can change over time. If I gain 20 pounds or lose 50, can’t walk like I used to, or look like a damn supermodel that doesn’t change my identity. I would still be awkward as hell even if I looked like Gigi Hadid.
I’m just a girl with my 44-inch hips, size 12 wearing, 187-pound body standing in front of the internet asking them to love themselves.
I got lost in my skin for the first 27 years and I plan on owning my skin for the rest of the time that I am on this earth. I hope you learn to love and own yours too.